Regrettably the block is now in the hands of property developers and their City of London financiers. They’re out to make millions turning it into another soulless chunk of student accommodation. Money the local economy will see virtually none of. Except for the University of Edinburgh. Obviously they’ll be delighted to be filling it with fee-paying postgraduates desperate to have “Masters from Edinburgh University” on their CV. Despite some media reporting an MBA is “a waste of time and money“.
Why else would the University be offering to take a
fivetwenty* year lease on a building before it even has planning permission? It’s extremely rare for the City of Edinburgh Council to refuse planning consent backed by the University; regardless of local opposition.
* [CORRECTION: The University are actually taking a 20 year lease on the student flats. Maybe by the end of that time there might be bits of Edinburgh University in Leith, there aren’t any I’m currently aware of.]
In the meantime, Drum Property Group are boarding up premises they’re unwilling to even offer short-term leases on. Sadly, and perhaps deliberately, making the block an eyesore. Unsurprisingly, they’re begging for “Community Art Proposals” as part of their – ahem – ‘Community Engagement’.
Regrettably this sort of ‘Artwashing‘ is likely all-too-familiar to anyone who’s seen gentrification in action.
[UPDATE] The Planning Application has now been submitted. The first word of the summary is – unsurprisingly – “Demolition“. There are 118 associated documents – making this a monster to properly oppose.
Other Leith Walk artworks.
Because it’s where I live, I’ve several pieces featuring the threatened buildings; plus other places on, or near, Leith Walk. You’ll find a few below.